Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/18/13
Just like he did with the Miami Heat, LeBron James went back-to-back at the ESPYS. Almost one month after leading the Heat to their second consecutive championship, James again won the ESPY for Best Male Athlete, topping Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps at the 21st awards show on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. "To be in a category with All-Day AP, the Triple-Crown winner, and the human fish, it's an honor," said James, who won his fourth NBA MVP and second straight Finals MVP in leading the Heat to a franchise-record 66-16 record this past season. "Just to be in a class with you guys is an unbelievable honor. This is for all four of us. I'm just going to keep it [the ESPY] at my house." James wasn't done, either. He also grabbed ESPYS for Best Championship Performance and Best NBA Player. James also picked up an assist on the night, introducing Robin Roberts, who won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given to an individual whose contributions transcend sports. One of the first female sports anchors on ESPN in the 1990s, Roberts has worked with ABC's "Good Morning America" for the past two decades, blazing a trail for women in broadcasting. Her personal journey also served as inspiration because she overcame life-threatening illnesses twice. "When fear knocks, answer the door," Roberts told the audience at the Nokia Theatre, before adding, "At this moment I'm filled with such gratitude." First lady Michelle Obama saluted Roberts via video. The champion Heat, meanwhile, were saluted with the ESPY for Best Team for the second straight year and got the nod for Best Game thanks to their Game 6 comeback victory in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Peterson, Cabrera and Phelps didn't go home empty-handed. Peterson won the Best Comeback award after rushing for 2,097 rushing yards last season, second-most in NFL history, just nine months after surgery for a torn ACL. Cabrera won the ESPY for Best MLB Player after becoming the first Triple Crown winner (.330 average, 44 home runs, 139 RBIs) since 1967 and winning the American League MVP. And Phelps, who completed his career in the pool with more gold medals (18) and overall medals (22) than any other Olympian, bagged ESPYS for Best Male U.S. Olympian and Best Record-Breaking Performance. Fan voting, conducted online, was based on performances spanning the past 12 months. The awards show, which celebrates the year's best athletes and moments in sports, was hosted by "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm, who took shots at some of the world's top athletes in his opening monologue. On Dwight Howard, who recently bolted the Los Angeles Lakers for the Houston Rockets via free agency, he said, "He's leaving L.A. I guess he finally found a way to help the Lakers win." Hamm then added: "We thought it would be nice to honor Dwight Howard with his greatest moments with the Lakers," before no film clips appeared on the screen behind him while the crowd laughed. And on New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, whose name has been linked to the Biogenesis scandal, Hamm said, "There are rumors that MLB is going to suspend A-Rod after the All-Star break. But that's OK; Yankees fans are used to him not showing up in the second half." Serena Williams won ESPYS for Best Female Athlete and Best Female Tennis Player after a year in which she hoisted championship trophies at the 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 French Open, as well as singles and doubles crowns at the London Olympics. The ESPY for Best Play went to the bone-jarring hit South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney put on Michigan's Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl. And the father-and-son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt, who have participated in more than 1,000 endurance events, including 31 Boston Marathons, were honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. The award is given in honor of late NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who inspired millions with his courageous battle against cancer in 1993. Rick Hoyt, 51, was born with cerebral palsy and is unable to use his hands and legs. His father, 73, pushes him in a custom-made running chair during events, including 5K and 10K races, marathons and triathlons. They were presented the award by actor-director Ben Affleck, a fellow Boston native. "I don't think you could find two guys more proud to represent the city of Boston," Dick Hoyt said.
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